After the unfortunate July 17 incident at the DMCI-owned Semirara coal mining site in Antique, Google Earth screenshots of Semirara Island in Caluya, Antique started spreading online. This led the secretariat of the PMPI to check ten other large-scale mining sites in the Philippines over Google Earth. Read more >>
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Something is to be said when a mining firm intentionally ran over small boats of the fisherfolks of Manicani, for the second time. The first was only last December, with the similar intent: to haul heavy equipment into the island and continue their mining operation.
Jade Badilla, a youth member of Save Manicani Movement (SAMAMO), along with other residents was aghast to see the same horror happening again.
“This is our home,” Badilla said. “Strangers are coming over to destroy our humble island home. Isn’t it our right to keep them from doing it?”
Headed by SAMAMO, an organization that promotes the protection of Manicani Island against harmful effects of mining, the residents of Manicani lined up their boats to show their stand against the entrance of mining companies in the island.
“We have done this before,” recounted Badilla. “Using our boats, which we use for our livelihood, we have formed a fence to show that we do not allow Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC), or any other miners to come in destroy our environment.”
Badilla explained how he still cannot understand the persistence of the mining company in running over their rights as residents of
“We have suspension order against the mining company from entering our area,” Badilla explained. “But we are right on not being complacent on simply having the paper because the mining company is resolved in not recognizing our right as inhabitants of this island: as natives of this island. They are back and this time, they are even more insistent.”
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) released a suspension order in 2011, in connection with the complaint filed by the Diocese of Borongan detailing the environmental hazards posed by the operations of HMC. HMC is a subsidiary of Nickel Asia.
“The event only motivates us in being more firm and vigilant to stand against the mining company,” Badilla shared. “Mining will destroy our seas and mountains, kill our fishes, ruin our homes. Our livelihood and environment will be lost if we let them in.”
Badilla a recounted how mining issues have even caused fight among families in their area. He explained that people were mislead to believing this will help the island’s economy. But to their dismay, when HMC started operation in the 1980s, the island has since experienced fishkill, flooding, flashflood and mudslide.
“We almost have nothing left to protect us,” said Badilla. “When typhoon Haiyan passed us, we were almost swept away. HMC destroyed our covers. Floods and mud rushed to our houses. HMC did not even feel the storm’s wrath because what they destroyed was our home.”
Badilla ended his story by asking for the government’s support to protect their island.
“We cannot do this on our own,” he said. “Because the mining company clearly does not recognize our economic, cultural, and social rights, we are seeking the government to help us to permanently ban mining activities from entering and further destroying our home.
GUIAN, EASTERN SAMAR – At least three small fishing boats were destroyed Saturday afternoon when a barge hired by Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC) forced their way into the port of Manicani Island of this province.
Residents, led by the Save Manicani Movement (SAMAMO), have set up boat barricade in a firm stance to protect their island from mining activities
Skipton Manila, a large barge containing several heavy equipment and machinery for mining operations, was sent by the HMC despite a suspension order from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Marcial Somooc, SAMAMO President, said in an interview that no one was hurt because the passengers of the boats ran over by the barge were able to escape on time.
Somooc recalled similar incident in December 2014, when he and another member of SAMAMO were injured in an earlier attempt of the HMC to bring heavy equipment in the area to transport the remaining nickel ores in Manicani.
In a letter sent to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), Ed Garingan of civil society network Philippine Misereor Partnership Incorporated (PMPI) calls the attention of the government on the said event, “in consideration of the suspension order to HMC that has been served by DENR since July 13, 2011.”
The DENR suspension order was released in connection with the complaint filed by the Diocese of Borongan detailing the environmental hazards posed by the operations of HMC.
HMC is a subsidiary of Nickel Asia.
In his letter, Garingan also asked the MGB to verify whether they have employees that go by the names Prima Gayas and Florencio Cadavos.
“SAMAMO members observed that it was Gayas who asked them to allow the barge to dock as they have a permit to do it,” said Garingan. “While Cadavos seemed to be the impatient kind as he was heard loudly instructing some people to remove the boats of anti-mining islanders at the port, both Gayas and Cadavos failed to show any document that proves their claims.”
Garingan also stated that they will request for an audience with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) as incident happened while members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were in the vicinity. Police force led by a certain Police Inspector Corregidor was reported to be observing nearby during the commotion.
SAMAMO members also reported that some of the armed men assisting HMC are not wearing uniform.
“We fail to understand how a suspended mining company was able to get the support of our police to bring heavy equipment they can use to resume their supposedly suspended operations,” Garingan said in a statement. “Maybe it is connected to the hike of international buying price of nickel last week. One thing is for sure: this is corporate greed in operation. Corporate greed that always fails to respect human rights and the environment.”
The Philippine-Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) is a network of people’s organizations (POs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), church/faith-based groups and Misereor, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Germany based in Aachen, Germany.
PMPI is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission on January 20, 2004. It is the result of a series of consultations among organizations supported by Misereor which discussed a model of cooperation, coordination and partnership between these Philippine social development organizations and Misereor.
The issues of the Sites of Struggles of PMPI for the anti-mining campaign seem so distant and insignificant to the most of the urban population especially in the National Capital Region. This norm is reflected in many ways, from the low media pick-up on the issues of mining to the small delegation of urban communities in an anti-mining march in the Metro Manila. But the urban population has a big stake in the mining industry and much so to the anti-mining campaign. If they will be reached, oriented, and mobilized, this sector can set new directions on how mining should be done in the country.
Recognizing their potential role in rationalizing the mining in the country, PMPI is launching its new initiative, the “SoS Diaries Project”. The project intends to bring people from any walks of life to the SoS for them to experience how it feels like to be at the center of a mining affected community. In turn, the participants will have to talk or share their experiences in various social media platforms like Facebook and possibly their own blogs. Through this, PMPI aims to reach urban communities who are also mostly reachable in the internet.
Who can apply?
The project is open to men and women, 18 years old and above. Anyone from all walks of life can participate as long as they are interested to visit one of PMPI’s Sites of Struggle and would be willing to share his or her experience on the site through his or her social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, blog and website). Flare to writing is an advantage.
Schedule of visit
The visit to the site is set to happen between August to October 2015 on the proposed date of the visitors and the availability of the community partners. Each of the participants or visitors will stay in the site for at least three days and two nights.
Groups want congress to kill riders in the Mining Revenue Bill
Groups from different mining-affected communities in the country exclaimed their opposition in the establishment of Mining Industry Zones (MIZ) in the Philippines as indicated in the proposed mining revenue policy in the congress.
In their meeting in Quezon City last May 28, the groups would like to send their appeal to the House of Representatives to omit the riders in the mining revenue bill and focus their discussion only on the fiscal regime on mining.
“We believe that the provision for the declaration of MIZ in the House Bill 5367 is outside the context of the fiscal regime and therefore should be omitted right away in the discussion,” said Fr. Joy Gillarme, executive director of Social Action Center Diocese of Marbel.
Elizabeth Manggol of Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (MACEC) added that they could not accept the proposed policy especially the MIZ because it contradicts their call for “no go zone” for mining.
Manggol also noted the discrepancy on the process of declaring areas as “no go zone” compare to the process for MIZ.
“Based on our experience and the other communities in the country, protecting an island from mining would take many steps and time -- from the barangay level to congress. But the MIZ is like a breeze to mining companies because for mining to happen, it seems that they would only need proclamation from the president and endorsement from the LGU,” she added.
Ed Garingan, project officer for the anti-mining campaign of Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) commented that the bill on its current form would threaten more communities and key biodiversity areas as the process to begin a mining project seemingly would be cut short.
“The bill is giving the national government an exclusive authority to regulate mining operations in the country, this is a direct assault to local autonomy,” Garingan added.
PMPI is a network of about 300 civil society organizations and church-based groups in the Philippines working on various development issues such as peace, sustainable agriculture, climate change and the anti-mining campaign. (30)